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Organizing Your Home To Reduce Your Stress – Guest Stephanie Sikora. Episode 74.

Home Organization

Do you ever look around your home…the space where you CHOOSE to exist and feel like you’re going to have a full on panic attack???  I do. A lot.

Although, I must say that I blame it on the heathens I choose to live with. Especially the red-headed variety. Bless them. I adore these people, but that doesn’t change the fact that they are exceptionally messy in my world. These particular humans are to home organization as a tornado is to a well manicured yard and intact roof. Incompatible.

A snapshot of my world

Here is a great example.  As I am writing this, here is a snapshot of what I’m looking at:

Now, it’s nothing out of “Hoarders”, I’ll give you that.  However, it makes me twitch…in my brain…and a twitching brain is hard on the irritability scale.

The rocker

The rocker (in the middle of the room) is literally the MOST UNCOMFORTABLE chair on the planet.  It was given to us. After several months of every person in our home hating it we decided that we were done and declared our independence from it!  Now it is in the middle of the front room waiting for me to Craigslist it to someone who doesn’t care AT ALL about looks or comfort. (Should be easy).

The box

The enormous box contained the NEW recliner (which is replacing the unwanted, uncomfortable, unattractive “chair of Satan”).  The box will live in the middle of the front room, sparking joy and imagination, no doubt, until either my kids tire of it or the twitch in my eye from the clutter gets unbearable and I sneak it out of the house in the middle of the night and then pretend like I don’t know what they are talking about when they grill me about its whereabouts in the morning.

“What box? We use Amazon.  There are SO MANY boxes. You’ll have to be more specific.  I think someone just knocked on the door!!!”

The names change but the message is the same…

Then there are all the other things that continually persist in this little space:

The lamp with the tilted shade that WILL NOT stay straight.  

My daughter’s pink hat that she loves with all of her heart in one moment and then declares that she is throwing in the trash the next (where does she get this from???).

Alan’s leather satchel that has sat under the window for 4 years and has never been moved for reasons I cannot explain.

And the myriad of magazines that cannot overcome the gravitational allure of splaying themselves all over the floor.   


Gravity is a mother’s worst enemy.

I would show you all of the other rooms in my house if you had no life and nothing to do for the next 12 hours. As it is, let’s just say the description of one room will suffice.  Home organization has CLEARLY not been at the top of my “to do” list for awhile!

Ready to cry “UNCLE”!

On this week’s episode we interviewed Stephanie Sikora about reducing stress through home organization.  You may ask if organization LITERALLY reduces stress.  I honestly don’t know if it does for everyone on the planet.  All I can do I answer truthfully that for me,




Stephanie Sikora is a wife, mom of two daughters, owner of a golden retriever, owner of Life Made Simple LLC, a Professional Organizer, a Life Systems Expert, a Speaker, and the Author of “Simplified: Three Easy Steps to Simplify Your Space and Save Your Sanity.”  She said that all of this began when her daughter said, “Mommy, you never sit and play with me,” and a light bulb came on. Stephanie was always so preoccupied picking up and doing what needed to be done each day, she never got around to living: being present for the moments that mattered the most. Motivated by her toddler’s honesty, she immersed herself in creating a life that was simpler and didn’t leave her exhausted at the end of each day.

Stephanie explained that clutter literally triggers a stress response, and that stress seeps into all aspects of life.  Home organization will actually lessen moms’ stress responses.

I, for one, am down with the ideas of simpler, not exhausted, and less stressed.  Bring it!

SO….Now what?

Stephanie says when starting out you need to start small.  If you are starting in the kitchen, pick one shelf or one drawer.  (Our brains like easy wins.) Be thorough. Pull everything out and look at it all together.  This will help you to see if you have multiples. Ask yourself, “Does this add value?  Is it worth holding onto?”  Follow up with “How does this add value?”  Going through this process helps us to simplify our lives.  

One word of caution when starting:  Never begin with the garage or the basement.  


But what about sustainability?

I don’t know about you, but I have a pattern for getting fed up, following another new home organization jag and then petering out within a few weeks. Is there hope for someone like me? Stephanie talked about (Brilliant!) ways to SUSTAIN our newfound simplicity.  

One of the points that she made was that when we are making systems for our house (i.e., organizational routines) we need to see the problems and understand how to work AROUND them rather than just declaring that they will never happen again.  For example, I have a son (a redhead…see?) who refuses to stop leaving his shoes in the kitchen by the back door.  We have had MANY epic battles about this issue.


I have declared that he WILL stop doing this and have had as much success as a pubescent teenager who declares they WILL NOT get acne.  It doesn’t work. SO, in response to Stephanie’s interview I went to IKEA and purchased a cute bench/shoe organizer. Instead of declaring something will never happen again I am seeing the problem (the redhead decided his shoes will forever live in my kitchen) and now I am finding a way to WORK AROUND the problem with a cute IKEA purchase.  According to Stephanie this is a SUSTAINABLE way to keep some organization for this problem area in my kitchen.


A few final thoughts

This is only one example of the many that Stephanie gave us during the interview.  To listen to them all and become a walking talking organizational genius (not unlike myself), just click on the link at the top of this page.   

For the next week, I am going to work on keeping my entire family from using the bathrooms in this house.  

You wouldn’t BELIEVE what they do in there.  

I am incredibly confident that the bathrooms would stay sparkling clean if I were the only one allowed in.  All I ask is for a chance to prove my theory. Good luck to each of you as you attempt to simplify your lives.  Just remember: It’s not you…it’s totally them.  

Your friend in the mess,



Clear off your countertops each night.  It will amaze you how much it helps your day to wake up to clean countertops!

To find out more about Stephanie Sikora

Visit her website

Or to purchase her book click on the link:

Stephanie Sikora is Owner of Life Made Simple LLC, Professional Organizer, Life Systems Expert, Speaker, and Author of Simplified: Three Easy Steps to Simplify Your Space and Save Your Sanity.

For nearly two decades, Stephanie streamlined life-saving healthcare procedures and high-stress operating room processes. Now, she helps healthcare professionals, nonprofit leaders, business owners, and parents cut time-wasters, clear the clutter, and simplify the way they do business—and live life.

Books discussed in this episode:

Mindful Parenting

The Great Alone

If you enjoyed this episode, check out similar episodes we’ve done:

Herding Cats: Routine ideas that can help a mom’s craziest time of the day – Guest Whitney Archibald of “How She Moms”. Episode 54.

Living With Purpose – Guest Laura Hintze. Episode 50.

From Messy to Manageable – Guest Samantha Passey. Episode 37

How to Organize your Home and Life – Guest Angie Calderwood. Episode 30

2 Comment

    1. Thank you Stephanie! The mail holder I vowed I would get during the interview is above the bench 🙂
      Thanks for all the helpful ideas Stephanie!

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